An Anthology of Modern Bohemian Poetry/I (iii.)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
For other English-language translations of this work, see I (iii).

I (iii.)


I am the first who arose of the people of Teschen,
The first Beskydian bard who uttered his strains;
They follow the stranger's plough, the slaves fare downwards,
Naught but milk and water flows in their veins.

Each of them has a God in the heaven above them,
A second, a greater one, here on the earth holds sway;
To the one above they pay in the church their tribute,
And unto the second with tribute and blood they pay.

He, He Who is up on high gives bread that we die not,
To the fish He gave streams, for the butterfly blossoms has shed;
Thou, thou who wert bred and born on the Beskyd mountains,
On thee He bestowed the world that 'neath Lyssa is spread.
He gave thee the mountains, and gave unto thee the forests,
The scents, that out of the meadows already sweep;
With one swoop the second has taken everything from you-—
Hasten to Him Who is there in the church, and weep.

My son from the Beskyds, reverence God and thy masters,
Fair is the fruit that then shall be reckoned as thine;
Out of thy forests the guardian angels have cast thee,
Unto them thou so meekly thyself dost incline.

"Thou thief from Krásná! Is this the wood thou possessest?
Cast thyself down, and the earth In humility kiss,
Out of the woods of thy lords and away to Friedek!"
Thou Who art up on high, what say'st Thou to this?

Thine evil speaking offends thy masters,
Thy guardian angels it doth offend;
Cast it off, for this will better avail thee,
On thy son will the penalty first descend.

Thus 'twas done. The Lord wills it. Night sank o’er my people,
Our doom was sealed when the night had passed;
In that night I prayed to the Demon of Vengeance,
The first Beskydian bard and the last.


"Songs of Silesia" (1911).